Monday, December 29, 2014

New Habit: Monthly Review

Today, my ten minute tidy took an hour.

And that's great!

When I started this habit, I was looking for something to help me keep my house under control. I picked it because it seemed intuitive to me that after spending 10 minutes walking around my house--even at its tidiest--I would find something which needed to be done. In truth, the habit wasn't so much "tidying" as it was 10 minutes of focused action-oriented attention on the house.

For a habit to be successful, it needs a trigger and a reward. My trigger was finishing my first cup of coffee in the morning. At the beginning of the month, I set up a sticky note on the coffee maker to remind me to do it (as I reached out to pour that second cup.)  I never did figure out a reward. As for tracking my habit, I decided to use a simple calendar of the days of the month and mark an "X."


I performed my habit 28/29 times.


First, and most disappointing, a ten minute tidy--even when I do it every day--is not sufficient to keep my house picked up. It kills me, but it is only a start. In truth, I'll do whatever needs doing for that ten minutes--sometimes whatever is easiest, sometimes, whatever is most urgent--there's always something to do--and something always left undone. I need to make my peace with that. It won't be too hard, really. I just need to remember something is better than nothing--and it all counts.

Second, as you know, about half way through the month, I struggled with resentment. Apparently, having negative thoughts about the habit (thoughts that would justify quitting) is normal. For me, part of it was resenting the people who make the messes and don't clean up after themselves, the other was because of the way I'd set myself to do it. It interrupted my morning.

The first. I will figure out how to deal with separately. As for the second, I've decided that it makes sense to adhere to that schedule on the days I am working. Mostly, I am afraid that if I promise myself to do it later, I just won't--as I didn't on the day that I missed. However, on days I do not have to be at work and can enjoy some leisure, I've decided to wait until I am "ready" --however many cups of coffee later that may be.

That's exactly what I did this morning--and why I spent an hour in my room picking things up, putting things away, folding laundry, making the bed, dusting, and swiffering. It was most satisfying to be able to devote the time to making my room the clean, calm sanctuary I need it to be.

I am going to continue with this habit.

So nice.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

You are inspiring me to do this in 2015. It is always amazing how nice a space can look if the area is neatened up.

Have a wonderful 2015.


Rita said...

I'm with you on the power of doing a little bit each day. I'm currently doing that with taking down/putting away the Christmas things. While part of me wants the house all back together, I know I'd end a day-long marathon of such work feeling cranky and resentful. I'd rather do a little bit every day this week and also have time to watch movies, go for walks, etc. Looking for balance, always….

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks Lorraine. Picking things up can have a wonderful effect in a few days--if folks aren't home to immediately undo all your work!

That's an excellent approach for Christmas decorations, Rita. I will be looking after mine in the next few days, too. I'll do as much as I want today--we'll see how far I get.

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